Dana Gioia was appointed Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts by President Bush and confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in January 2003. Mr. Gioia (pronounced JOY-A) is an internationally acclaimed poet, literary critic, educator and former business executive. A native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent, Gioia was the first member of his family to attend college. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. For 15 years he developed his writing while working as an executive for General Foods in New York, eventually becoming Vice President of Marketing.
Dana Gioia is the author of three collections of poetry, including Interrogations at Noon, which won the 2002 American Book Award. Gioia's poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post Book World, The New York Times Book Review, Slate and The Hudson Review.
A former commentator on American culture and literature for BBC Radio, Gioia is best known for his 1991 book Can Poetry Matter? about the role of poetry in contemporary culture. Trained in music, Gioia was the classical music critic for San Francisco magazine for six years. Gioia has written two opera libretti, including Nosferatu (2001), with composer Alva Henderson, published by Graywolf Press, and Tony Caruso's Final Broadcast, with composer Paul Salerni.
Gioia is the founder of Teaching Poetry, a conference dedicated to improving high school teaching of poetry, and the West Chester University Conference on Form and Narrative. He has taught as a visiting writer at Johns Hopkins University, Sarah Lawrence College, Mercer University, Wesleyan University and other colleges. Before moving to Washington, DC, Gioia and his wife and their two sons lived in Sonoma County, California.